The Villa Casa Casuarina
What We Love
- Location directly across from the beach
- The villa’s incredible on-site restaurant, which serves Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients
- Rich history: The property is the former Versace mansion
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Miami vacation
What To Know
- Reservations are required for afternoon tea (served from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays in the Mosaic Garden)
- Looking to take a break from the beach scene? Try the property’s Thousand Mosaic Pool, where Versace’s 24K gold tiles still gleam
- Top Miami Beach restaurants and nightclubs are just a five-minute cab ride away
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The Villa Miami Beach delivers a delicate mix of flamboyance and sophistication worthy of the mansion that once belonged to Gianni Versace. Past the iron gates (and the many celebrity seekers) that surround the 1930s villa — which is directly across from the beach — the property opens up like a scene from One Thousand and One Nights.
Bed and Bath
The layout is reminiscent of a Moroccan riad: 10 suites set around an interior courtyard with a fountain, with carved wood doors and intricate tiling. The Villa Suite is Versace’s former boudoir and, unsurprisingly, the most lavish — two balconies, gold shower fixtures and a truly enormous bed (nine by 12 feet) — but the other nine suites are close contenders. Each has Frette linens, Versace fabrics, a Sono sound system and a sleek bathroom clad in Italian marble.
You’d be remiss not to reserve a table at the villa’s 30-seat restaurant, where river pebble mosaics adorn the walls, candles in colored vases cast a glow over the tabletops, and Versace china announces that eating here is as much an aesthetic experience as a gustatory one. The menu from chef Jeff O’Neill (of Miami’s exclusive Gibraltar) features Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients, such as the clementine carrot velouté with mascarpone and the maple-glazed barramundi in white ginger broth.
In the Area
This is the famed Art Deco District; don’t leave without taking a walking or bicycle tour, self-guided or otherwise, in order to see all the incredibly restored historic properties. While Ocean Drive itself can be touristy, and mediocre foodwise — with the exception of Prime 112, De Rodriguez Cuba and BLT Steak — it also offers some wicked fun, especially at the neighboring Palace South Beach, which is renowned for its colorful drag queen shows. Parallel avenues Collins and Washington feature world class dining and nightclub options, ranging from the Bazaar by José Andrés in the SLS Hotel to Mansion Nightclub. Perpendicular to the beach, the Lincoln Road walking mall is great for people watching and café hopping.
How to Get There
I blame myself for the error in ever booking this horrid hotel. It was the only time I didn’t read the reviews on TripAdvisor first, had I, I would have seen the majority of negative reviews from the people who actually stayed there. The only thing keeping this from a ONE STAR rating is the reviews from the ones coming in for lunch and dinner.
I booked our suite in June 2018 (one of the 4 best in the Villa) and as soon as I did, I emailed the hotel and requested either Gianni’s suite or the Signature suite. I didn’t hear anything back so sent two more emails to which the hotel failed to respond.
We arrived around 10:30 am after an overnight flight from Canada. There is a podium outside where you pass a guard to get to. The young girl working behind the podium was rude and arrogant. We were told we couldn’t have either suite we requested ,that we’d been placed in the Garden suite. I asked if we could look at it and she said NO.
Finally she reneged and we viewed the suite, it was dark, musty and not to our liking. We informed her we had no intention of staying in that suite and that I was absolutely up front from the moment we booked. We were then told we could have the Signature Suite after lunch, around 3. We came back at 2 and were told the Manager said NO we could not have the “Signature Suite” that we could have the Garden Suite only or we could be downgraded to the Medallion Suite. I stated this simply wasn’t acceptable and we’d never been treated so poorly.
At that point another couple who worked their (or at the sister hotel) came a long and started snapping at us, that our one night pre-payment wouldn’t be refunded, they’d charge us for all three nights and we should have known their intent by the lack of response to my emails.
The Manager was phoned again as we were leaving and he said our money would be refunded.
The only person in the entire hotel who has any semblance of a heart was the fellow who handled our luggage (he’s from Nice, France) and he was trying to help us get into an UBER and stated we should try the Standard Hotel. The entire time he was trying to help us, the rest were snapping at him, “get back here to work”
We have stayed in some of the best hotels in the world and never seen such rude and arrogant staff. Everyone of them was a piece of work and certainly not in a good way. As we left, I said I’d be writing a very negative review on TripAdvisor and their response was “Don’t care, people will line up to stay here anyway.”
We arrived to the Standard and they had no rooms available but the Concierge, Hugo and the amazing staff did everything in their power to be of a benefit to us. We ended up at the Mandarin Oriental in a fabulous water and city view room with a free buffet breakfast everyday, wine and chocolates sent to us and genuine kindness by the staff.
Do yourself a favour and stay anywhere else.
I stayed in the Mosaic room at Villa Casa Casuarina for two nights; January 10th and 11th. It was very beautiful and the staff was personable. We dined at Gianni's the first night and the food was very good in a perfect setting.
After our dinner the first night around 11 pm we could hear the staff in the preparation and storage room below the foyer to the Mosaic room. It was loud and clear enough to hear their voices and understand they were sorting silverware and moving furniture across the floor. It was annoying but I did not complain. It ended at midnight.
Even with this disturbance we were still so impressed with the hotel that I inquired about reservations, albeit for a different room, for February or March of 2020.
My positive feelings for the beautiful hotel changed Friday night. At 11 pm the restaurant breakdown started again with the noisy sorting of silverware, voices of the staff and much louder sounds of tables being moved across the tile floor.
Around midnight the Medallion suite across the foyer from the Mosaic was being occupied by a party of 10 people that were also very loud.
At 12:30 I went down and complained to Rog (?) with the restaurant about the staff being so disturbing that it was impossible to sleep. He said he would tend to the problem. Twenty minutes later the noise persisted and I went outside the Mosaic room and from above in the foyer raised my voice to the entire staff below to stop talking and moving furniture. I was assured that they were almost finished. The noise did stop at 1 am.
At 6 am the party of 10 staying in the Medallion suite was awake and making noise. I asked them to be quiet but to no avail. 10 minutes later I walked over to their door and closed it myself. Knowing my frustration and anger they tried to quiet down but there were so many of them it was difficult. Not having been able to go back to sleep I went downstairs at 7:30 am to get coffee and met the receptionist to whom I related my frustration and anger. I had spoken to the restaurant manager and hotel manager but received no help.
I believe I should be able to expect a minimum level of disturbance in a fine hotel in order to get a good night’s sleep. Lacking sleep does not make for a good experience no matter how beautiful the establishment or courteous the hotel staff.
I do not recommend this hotel because of the uncomfortable noise from staff and guests, and poor customer service from the management of the restaurant and hotel. I wrote and communicated my dissatisfaction with the hotel’s manager and the main office but after a month I have received no response. Any guest should also be aware of the possible large parties that they allow to occupy a room. I would assume that guests such as myself would expect a good night's sleep. This experience I hope will warn other travelers in the market for a five star hotel.
After looking at the impressive building and knowing the history behind this stunning place,myself and three friends decided to push the boat out and go for a meal at this establishment...what a mistake
I have never felt as ripped off in my life....
All four of us ordered different starters to compare and perhaps share...not a chance they were so small I would of stabbed anyone with a fork if they had tried!
Albeit small they were not particularly good,the main course again was not good,the waiting staff not particularly attentive but hey it’s o.k they are charging 22% service charge they don’t have to be.
Be very careful before you go you need a deep wallet and forget the history behind this place no one is happy to answer any questions you have...very very disappointed
The Villa Casa Casaurina is the former Versace Mansion, now operating as a boutique hotel and restaurant. We went for dinner, looking for Italian cuisine and a visit at the fabled SOBE home of fashion genius Gianni Versace and his sister Donatella.
If you are looking for the Versace story when visiting you will have to work for it. The staff is very closed mouthed, almost trained to be that way judging from the consistency of their non responses about the past. Maybe it was part of the deal made when the Versaces sold the property to its current owner. But it seemed odd, not mysterious. You will not find a plaque, a storyline on the menu, or homage to the Medusa head from the Versace logo.
Putting that aside you will find the marvelous frescos, incredible tile work, the famous pool, and even Gianni’s vintage barber chair if you peek into the men’s locker room. But you’ll have to do the work.
It’s worth a look, for sure, but better to walk in for a drink at the bar and poke around then commit to dinner. Here’s why:
Dinner is outside at the pool so make sure you get a reservation, bring a sweater or shawl if it’s windy, ask for a table close to the pool or they will put you at a bad location because the dining area is crammed with tables. The area is protected by the walls of the compound, it is covered, lighting is nice, live music, great ambience.
Juan our experienced waiter was efficient and very nice. The remainder of the staff looked harried at 6:30 pm, still setting up tables and dragging gas heaters all over the dining area.
We always had to ask for water and bread while we waited for our order to come from the kitchen.
We ordered an appetizer of Scallops with a Gianni salad as one meal, and the Key West Prawns entree and burrata salad as the other meal.
The quality of the food is not equal to the prices charged. The scallop appetizer at $17 was plentiful and made a nice meal with the salad, scallops overcooked. But for the price/value adequate.
The Key West Prawns for $40 were just a disaster. Supposed to be served with heads on, the dish was served with heads yet the prawn meat was outside of the heads. Scattered. Rushed. Almost like they had extra heads in the kitchen and sautéed shrimp and tried to place them in the heads. The food at the booze-mill Mangoes is better.
Consider the food quality as banquet-level quality or perhaps a serving you would get at a good restaurant on a cruise ship. Better to grab a cocktail, look around, and find another place for dinner.
I went out to dinner with a friend and everything was incredible. The food and service was great except for the hostess. She said I didn't have a reservation and I tried to show her the reservation on my phone. She wouldn't look at it and was pretty rude. When she finally found the reservation she said nothing except that the other hostess would take me to my seat. It was a very uninviting feeling.